Archive for the ‘FOOD’ Category

Ampal x Gorbals Chefs Hat

The Gorbals is a spot for new and diverse ideas. For tasty, oddball food that is there for anyone who is willing to eat something that does not fall into a category. It is not an Italian restaurant, or an Indian restaurant, or a Scottish restaurant, or a Los Angeles restaurant, nor is it new age, traditional, old school, fusion, pretentious or plain. It is simply The Gorbals. ”

Ilan hall gorbals ampal2 Ampal x Gorbals Chefs Hat

Our favorite restaurant happens to be a few blocks up the street. Over many a meal and beers at the Gorbal’s kitchen counter – its like being in Kitchen Stadium – we got front row input from Ilan, Manny and Lizi on the ultimate chef’s hat.

Gorbals front SM Ampal x Gorbals Chefs Hat

Gorbals Side2 SM Ampal x Gorbals Chefs Hat

The upper is made from 100% cotton canvas. Its tough, breathable, and at home in the kitchen. On the right side we added elastic slots for holding a meat thermometer and Sharpie. The brim is made from industrial vinyl, so if you have to adjust your hat with greasy hands, you can wipe it off later. We sourced a special vinyl backed diamond knit sweatband to keep it cool in the heat of the kitchen.

Its all black because its Ampal for the Gorbals and Ilan is from NY.

Limited to 60 pieces to the public. The rest are for the Gorbals’ chefs – if they sell out, maybe you can start washing dishes.

Available here.

Gorbals available here.

map Ampal x Gorbals Chefs Hat

Thanks to the director, the talented Eric Ulbrich.

The Gorpals & In a Perfect World

ilan gorbals chefs hat The Gorpals & In a Perfect World
Brainstorming some ideas with Ilan and Eric for a short on the Gorbal’s Chef’s hat.

Coming soon.

This song was in my head all morning.

Guttermouth show @ a Wherehouse Music with a mini pit and horrible POP signs everywhere!!


“After struggling to cope with the impact of the March 11 disasters last year, a burst of national pride has got Japan’s fishing industry off to a stirring start in 2012: A brand new all-time record price tag for a bumper bluefin tuna.

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“Weighing in at a hefty 269 kilograms, the fish, caught off the coast of northern Oma, Aomori prefecture, was sold for about Y56.5 million, or about $736,700, at the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji fish market Thursday.

“The new record valued each kilogram of the prized fish worth at about Y210,000, or roughly $2,736, and blew away the previous one, set last year, by more than Y20 million.

“But the high price was more about national sentiment than tuna economics… The reason for the premium bid? What’s caught in Japan ought to be eaten in Japan, according to the man who runs the company.”

via WSJ

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BUT the overfishing of the Blue Fin Tuna is an alarming issue and extinction is a real threat -the commercial overfishing of these beautiful fish needs to be addressed. Find out more here

“Overfishing will wipe out the breeding population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the ocean’s largest and fastest predators, in three years unless catches are dramatically reduced, conservation group WWF said on Tuesday.

“As European fishing fleets prepare to begin the two-month Mediterranean fishing season on Wednesday, WWF said its analysis showed the bluefin tuna that spawn — those aged four years and older — will have disappeared by 2012 at current rates.”

A Brunette, a Motorcycle & Coffee

Screen shot 2011 12 21 at 4.54.32 PM A Brunette, a Motorcycle & Coffee
Wow. Brunette Myrt, Motorcylces & Coffee, an amazing trifecta of goodness. This holiday the Bixel Collection
has really stepped it up, with a custom blend Don Medardo coffee by local LA coffee legends – Handsome Boy Roasters. Bixel Boys curated a soundtrack to compliment the Honduran coffee and together they shot a lookbook that has coffee looking sexier than ever.
Screen shot 2011 12 21 at 4.54.51 PM A Brunette, a Motorcycle & Coffee
Available here.

More Myrts & Coffee Here

NY pt. 1 – Get in my BELLY

Great NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
I was in NY for a week not too long ago. If you follow my instagram (ampal_creative) you will have noticed that 50% of my pics from the trip were of food. I am a fat kid at heart and love food and eating. I wanted to share a few of my favorites I visit every time as well as some new ones we discovered on this trip. None of these meals were too expensive, and all were definitely worth the items I sacrificed at uniqlo.

The amazing noodles and roast pork above are from the aptly titled Great NY Noodletown. BTW, this is a fan page, I dont think the restaurant knows it exists. Their roast pork is amazing, and even better with the pan fried noodles, which were actually CRISPY!!!

Little Italy NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
These house made sides in Little Italy* (I forget the name of the cafe) had me drooling in line – from L-R: front row – Butternut Squash, Roasted Cauliflower, Fresh Ricotta, back row – Roasted Peppers, Homemade Mozz, and Eggplant Parm. NOM NOM NOM!!!

I consider myself a connoisseur of Pastrami and hold Langer’s as the holy grail of the brined/smoked/steamed beef and was eager to check out Mile End in Brooklyn, after hearing stories of delicious pastrami from my pastrami partner in crime JDH.
miles end pastrami NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
The story I heard, was that a law student dropped out of a local university to pursue his love of the beef, learning from best and creating his own homemade smoked meats, pickles and other delicacies. His passion shows in the delicious food and people love it. They will be opening a second restaurant in Manhattan soon. This is it right here, a slab of brisket that is dry rubbed then smoked, so it is technically “smoked beef” not pastrami. A couple of stacks of evenly sliced rye are in the foreground, and to the left lay a delectable bowl of drippings and end pieces used for their sauces.
Mile End pastrami poutine NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
This is THE dish – smoked meat poutine. It was as good as it looks, but the gravy was a bit thick for my California tastes. I think the Gorbal’s bahn mi poutine is a better overall dish, but this is still a meal I will return too.
Salties NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
The next destination was Saltie’s as recommended by our friend Seth. I grew up on his parent’s bagels, and to this day swear the original Baltimore Bagel’s were the best. Food is in the Brau DNA, so I was a bit skeptical but took his word on a Captain’s Daughter – “sardines, pickled egg, salsa verde.” Going into the restaurant I really doubted it would deliver; I like an occasional sardine on a good Caesar salad, but questioned it as the main ingredient along with pickled egg. It was really good. The bread was perfect, and the odd pairing was unlike anything I’ve had. Be forewarned, if you eat the whole thing it will sit heavy and you can count out any make outs or close conversations with anyone you’re trying to impress.
Robertas Pizza NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
Roberta’s was conveniently located across from my friend’s loft, so it was an obvious choice. They grow their own vegetables in an amazing garden that doubles as a beer garden in the summer. The woodfired pizza was delicious, and probably even better topped with their veggies.
 NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
We had a drinking/pumpkin carving party. Fortunately most guests used the dull knives, no blood was shed and my octopus donated these soy, garlic, horseradish seeds.
Seeds NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
The first time I ate at Joe’s Shanghai we sat across from Terry and some 18 year old. Their super dumplings are legendary, cheap and served late into the night. Steaming with broth they are amazing on a cold night. A couple of trays of crab or pork dumplings are pretty much as essential as having a late night slice of pie when you’re in NYC.
Joes Shanghai soup Dumlpings NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
Take a moment before taking in this next picture.
momofuku ssam pork buns NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
This is a plate of the legendary Momofuku Steamed Buns. An absolutely perfect marriage of “pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions” they were one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Ever since I saw Anthony Bourdain visit David Chang’s exalted establishment I knew I would eat there.
momofuku ssam pork shoulder NY pt. 1   Get in my BELLY
This was the delicious “bev eggleston’s pork shoulder steak – cauliflower, piperade, pine nuts.” They have ridiculous meal options for larger groups that get served to a lucky few tables reserved months in advance, that is on the radar for next time. Jacob has been part of a fried chicken 2 ways (korean and american preparations) for 8, and they currently have a bo-ssam and rotisserie duck option, but plan on reserving a table way in advance.

There are countless other amazing restaurants in NYC, but these are some of our favorites. We hope we can point you toward some flavor bliss next time you’re in the city. This post has already made me hungry, enjoy!

Ichiban mas Chingon!

Sushi Gen Ichiban mas Chingon!
Sushi is my meal of choice, so when I found this beautiful plate of fish in front of me yesterday, my eyes lit up, and I may even have been frothing at the mouth.   My friend Shahin, had been telling me about the Sushi Gen sashimi lunch for a while, adding to the rumors around the inconspicuous Little Tokyo establishment.   Shahin runs PureFish, specializing in all natural sustainable seafood, so I knew I had to trust him on this one.  Yesterday,  I got the call around noon saying he put us on the wait list and to cruise over in about 45 minutes.  When we skated up, the line out the door only added to the hype.

I can’t really do the meal more justice than saying it was better than my high expectations and delivered 100%.  I’ve tried many of the bountiful sushi options in Little Tokyo and Downtown LA and Sushi Gen is definitely the best.  At $15 with a tasty tofu in sesame scallion sauce appetizer and a bowl of rice its a steal.  Just do it – get there early, put your name down and prepare for satisfaction.

la torta loca Ichiban mas Chingon!

La Torta Loca is another favorite lunch spot that regularly satisfies our Mexican lunch cravings.   My new favorite torta is the Carne y Chorizo.  Starting with a perfectly light bolillo roll, they fill it with chorizo on the bottom and carne on the top.  Queso fresco, lettuce, tomato and jalapeno blend with the meats to create a spicy melody of flavors.  My previous go to was the cubana, but I think the simpler C&C proves less is more.  A solid homemade salsa and chips compliment the sandwich for a reasonable $6.50.  Tony and his family are really nice and craft the best torta’s this side of the border.*  Next time you’re in the Fashion District cruise by or call in a few delivery sandwiches.


There are countless food options in Downtown and most are decent.  However, there are a few gems I’ll be sharing with you.  Please enjoy and support these local businesses.

*Anyone who has surfed K-38 in Baja knows the legendary “Taco Surf” stand.  The jolly owner served carne or pastor in either a taco or torta – basically the Hattori Hanso of the torta.  It may be a bit of nostalgia tinged memory combined with the post shred hunger, but they get the award for best torta.

IMG 0001 3 Ichiban mas Chingon!

pic via bajanomad

Toddy G’s

pizza toddygs Toddy Gs
Toddy G‘s opened recently on 7th between Alameda and Santa Fe. It’s definitely the best pie in downtown – great crust, a delicious cheese blend and quality toppings thoughtfully combined. I had a slice of mushroom, sausage and onion and a sausage and pepper stromboli (pictured). I really want to try the Prosciutto & Arugula, featuring tomato sauce, mozzarella, La Quercia Prosciutto Americano, fresh arugula, shaved grana padano & olive oil. Roots skate legend Salmon Agah is a co-owner of the place so go grab a slice and support a good crew.

Mmmm, Snacks!

One of my good buddies, Christian Bunte, runs a chip company. Christian started Cabo Chips right out of college with the idea and recipe for creating the best tortilla chip on the market. He didn’t want to reinvent snack food or take out Doritos, but the idea of offering a delicious snack that was healthier and produced locally sounded pretty good. He recently graced the cover of the OC Register Business section looking like a surf stoked chip grom.
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Cabo Chips has kind of led a similar story to Ampal. They make what I consider the best Tortilla Chip on the market. I’m a fat kid at heart with 25+ years of chip experience, so I don’t throw that claim around. Remarkably light, yet satisfyingly crunchy with the savory Umami hint of soy and lime. Their premium chips are made of all natural or organic corn, healthy expeller pressed oils and seasoned with only soy and lime. Produced in relatively small batches in OC, they have fought to gain shelf space in some of the best and biggest grocery stores and markets – from Costco to Whole Foods and Bristol Farms and even the Esperanza resort in Cabo. The producer of Californication gets them shipped to the set and threw them in a recent episode.
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When they were producing the Mexican market chips in Cabo, they had to ship down tortillas to the factory. There’s a bad joke in there somewhere, but that’s their dedication to quality. (Most corn tortillas in Mexico are produced from Maize ground from the entire ear of corn – the tortillas they use are made from only the kernals.) The proof is in the chip and the response has been great, everyone who tries Cabo Chips loves them.
chip lineup Mmmm, Snacks!
They now offer spicy chipotle and blue corn options, but original is still my favorite. Next time you’re at the store, grab a bag, you won’t be disappointed.

This is the first post with the “FOOD” tag. As I mentioned earlier, Im a fat kid at heart, with a love for food. I try to enjoy the melting pot of food offerings that is Southern California and we’ll share some with you.